The number of jobs advertised with flexible working options has plateaued at just 31%, research has found.
This year’s Timewise Flexible Jobs Index, which analysed nearly six million UK job adverts to see how many include a mention of part-time or flexible working options, showed that the proportion offering flexibility grew by only one percentage point between 2022 and 2023.
This is despite a a significant increase in jobs being advertised with flexible options during the pandemic. Timewise saw a 9% increase in flexible working roles between 2020 and 2021, and a further 4% increase between 2021 and 2022.
Nearly seven in 10 roles advertised between 1 January and 30 June 2023 made no mention of flexible options, despite CPD data suggesting six in 10 UK employees work in flexible jobs.
It filtered data from labour market analytics platform Lightcast by 19 keywords relating to different forms of flexible working, excluding those with salaries below £20,000 per annum and those that offered zero-hours, temporary, self-employed and commission-only contracts.
Clare McNeil, director of Timewise’s Innovation Unit said: “The volume of job ads offering flexible working options has trebled since 2015. However since the end of the pandemic this has fallen back to a slow climb up a steep mountain.
“Just 31% of UK job ads now offer some form of flexible working up front, meaning parents, carers and all those who need flex, have just one third of the UK jobs market to search within.
“People who want flexible working account for the majority. Yet they are treated as if they are the exception. This is indicative of a market failure – and one that shows businesses are perilously out of touch with what employees are looking for, given the grave talent shortages many face.”
The Timewise Flexible Jobs Index 2023, which is backed by Lloyds Banking Group, identified several trends:
- part-time arrangements are more than twice as common in jobs paid £20k-£34k FTE (15%) than those paid £35k-£59k FTE (7%), and are three-times more common than those paid £60k or more (5%)
- home or hybrid working tends to be offered only in higher salary bands. Only 7% of job adverts offered hybrid working (5% in 2022)
- the proportion of job ads mentioning part-time hours or remote working has not changed since 2022 (both 12%)
- flexible jobs were most commonly found in social services and health-related roles
- hospitality now ranks alongside the above public service sectors as having a higher than average rate of flexible vacancies, increasing from 33% last year to 43% in 2023
- 39% of HR job adverts mentioned flexibility, followed by finance (38%) and marketing (38%). Construction sector roles were the least likely to mention flexible working (10%).
Legislation that will give workers the right to request flexibility from day one of employment is likely to be enacted next year, after the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 gained Royal Assent back in the summer.